So another FIFA sanctioned "International Weekend" came and went and MLS fans were forced to watch their team play without all their biggest names again. Why? Every other league of note did not play league matches last weekend.
C’mon now, MLS has made a point since inception to promote star players all the time. Then they go and force us to have to endure a product that does not have the best possible players on the pitch. What are they thinking?
Yes, I have heard they argument that because the league does not own enough stadiums they have a difficult time moving the matches. Yet, when the prospect of an MLS All-Star team playing Real Madrid was possible, there were not any problems with a change of the schedule. Besides, I do not know exactly when FIFA sets International Dates, but I am sure if MLS asked nicely, FIFA would give the MLS schedule makers plenty of notice so those weekends could be blacked out.
I would be interested to see what sort of attendance teams get on weekends where International Matches are played against MLS matches. I know the doubleheaders in Foxboro and Chicago helped but without them, how would these starless lineups have drawn?
Typically, teams in the English First Division (sorry, Coca-Cola Championship) have three or more players named to international squads (including youth teams) they get to rearrange the match. Would playing the match on a Wednesday hurt attendance more than playing without the stars and having to bring in some other draw for the match?
Then again, I did not think we would ever see the end of the tiebreaker for regular season games… or even the death of the scoreboard clock that stopped when the ref remembered time needed to be added. I guess if we wait long enough, MLS will figure out that there’s a reason the rest of the world does things a certain way and will finally catch on. I am not holding my breath though.
If nothing else, watching the US and then the Galaxy back-to-back on Saturday showed just how much MLS (Steve Sampson in particular) has room for improvement.